Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield also reiterated America’s firm commitment to preventing Iranian aggression during her visit with top government officials.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield underlined the administration’s support for a Palestinian state during her meetings Monday in Jerusalem, along with reiterating her government’s firm support of the Jewish state.
In remarks before her closed-door discussions with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the ambassador, who is the first administration official to visit Jerusalem since the new government was formed, was forthright in presenting President Joe Biden’s long-known position.
“We believe Israelis and Palestinians alike deserve equal measures of freedom, prosperity, security, and dignity. This is important in its own right and as a means to advance prospects for a two-state solution,” she said.
According to American UN spokesperson Olivia Dalton, the ambassador made this point to Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, President Isaac Herzog, and Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli in their separate meetings as well.
For his part, Bennett, who has publicly stated that Israel has no partner on the Palestinian side to make peace with, chose to emphasize in his own statement the ambassador’s support for Israel and his optimism that she would learn more about the security needs of the country she is visiting for the very first time.
“I want to thank you for representing a voice of decency and reason in an institution, that I think we can both objectively say, is pretty biased in terms of its treatment of Israel,” he said.
He hoped, he added, that Thomas-Greenfield would acquire a “better picture of the unique challenges that we’re facing here… with Iranian-backed terror groups across our borders.”
The U.S. envoy’s itinerary includes a personal tour of Israel’s borders given by top IDF officers. In the past, these kinds of tours have brought home to visiting officials just how small Israel is in comparison to the forces arrayed against it. She also toured Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center on Monday, tweeting afterwards that she had been “deeply moved” by her visit.
In her meetings, the ambassador discussed a wide array of issues on which both right- and left-wing members of the coalition agree upon with the Americans. This included support for the Abraham Accords and widening the circle of countries normalizing relations with Israel, Biden’s commitment to fight antisemitism, and his promise to prevent Iranian aggression in the region in general and developing nuclear weapons in particular. In her own purview, she expressed her continuing commitment to work against the anti-Israel bias in the UN.
And in her tweet summarizing the meeting with Bennett, Thomas-Greenfield made no mention of the Palestinian issue, stressing what unites the two allies rather than what divides them.
“Honored to see Israeli PM Naftali Bennett again today in Jerusalem. We discussed our close cooperation at the UN working to combat anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias and our approach to shared regional threats.”